Bladderwort in the valley
16 July 2018
The valley is home to many different plants some of which are nationally scarce. One of these is Bladderwort, a carniverous plant which only occurs in slow-moving ditches or ponds. The drainage ditches that run through the flood meadows and reedbeds are an ideal habitat and some of them have healthy populations of Bladderwort.
For most of the year the plant is totally submerged, but it has no roots so it has to get its nutrients some other way. To this end it has tiny (~5mm) bladders that it empties of water causing a partial vacuum inside. Near the opening are tiny hairs that act as triggers and when something touches them the bladder snaps open, dragging in water and any small insect or fish that is near enough and then it snaps shut again, all within about a hundredth of a second. The plant then digests its prey and the process starts all over again.
Flowering is irregular; some years it doesn’t flower, but when it does yellow, snap-dragon like flowers appear on tall, usually red, stems. The flowering season is June to August and there is quite a lot about at the moment.